China Doesn’t Like That I’m a Single Woman, Here’s Why

“Sheng nu” (“leftover women”) is a term used to describe single women who are 27 or older in China. Most of these women live in cities and lead rewarding professional lives. The term was coined in 2007 by a government organization responsible for the protection and promotion of women’s rights and policies. That same year, the Ministry of Education added “sheng nu” to the official lexicon. In this Op-Doc, based on the Independent Lens feature documentary “Leftover Women,” we follow one of those women — Qiu Huamei, contending with the stigma and social pressure forcing her to go on a grueling quest in search of a husband. She grew up in a small village five hours south of Beijing and is the second youngest of five sisters. Ms. Qiu is a successful lawyer, fluent in English and opinionated — but those qualities do not outweigh one key flaw: She is not married.


5 replies on “China Doesn’t Like That I’m a Single Woman, Here’s Why”

It appears the Chinese have back themselves into a socially awkward society that keeps females on the bottom layer. The woman is beautiful and represents the change that must happen in China.

The men have a worse problem.

If you think that’s bad, you should see the single mothers.

Even worse than that are parentless kids, and worse than that are childless retirees.

It’s a society that is built on everyone having at least one son, who does well and supports his parents. There is no pension system because sons had a legal responsibility of supporting their parents.

More sons = more wealth. But capital per capita was limited, so the government set limits on reproduction.

A country of mostly poor losers, turned into a country of mostly middle class, but the old agrarian culture remains.

And FWIW, I’d have no problem marrying that lawyer and she’d have no problem marrying me, but her family wouldn’t want her marrying a foreigner. What she really needs isn’t a husband, but understanding.

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